Memories of Travels Past: On Horseback through the Dominican Republic

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park

I can’t deny it. I am becoming increasingly more excited about our trip to Japan and can’t wait to go. Only four weeks left now! We finally booked our Japan Railpass last night and splashed out on First Class travel. But whilst my anticipation for our holiday grows, a little anxiety and apprehension is creeping in simultaneously. This is the first international trip that I have planned and booked by myself. I can’t help but worry that not everything will go to plan.

 

I was spoilt rotten as a child and had the extreme pleasure of travelling to one or several different countries every year. My parents got divorced when I was young and we moved to France with my mum, leaving my dad behind in Germany. As a means of bonding with his children and because he is a travel fanatic himself, my dad whisked us away on an adventure abroad every summer holiday. These childhood vacations played a big part in forming the person I am today. Whilst the trips to Scotland with my mum and stepdad developed a keen sense for architecture and an interest in culture and history, the holidays with my dad opened my mind to the different cultures and scale of the globe. Not only did these trips make me the person I am, they are also some of the most cherished moments of my life so far.

 

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So as I’m counting down to the adventure of a lifetime in my future, I thought I would start a new series on this blog recounting fond memories of travel’s past.

THE HOTEL

 

In 2007, just before I moved to Scotland to go to University, my dad booked a trip to the Dominican Republic. He almost always books his trips with Expedia.com and so far it has served him well. I believe we stayed in the all inclusive resort Grand Paradise Samana in the Samana Bay at Las Galeras, a 25 minute drive away from the town of Samana and a 45 minute ride to Arroyo Barril Airport. The location of the Hotel is pretty remote and nestled the resort is nestled amidst an exotic an unspoiled natural environment.
 
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TRAFFIC RULES

 

I still vividly remember the taxi ride from the Airport to the resort. It was quite something! I would hesitate twice before taking to the wheel in this country. Anyone planning to hire a car in the Dominican Republic should be aware that utmost caution and extremely defensive driving will be required. Undisciplined driving is common and there is barely any traffic control. Cars, Buses and Motocyclist will often brake the speed limit and do not care much about driving on the correct side of the road. On several occasions our taxi driver squeezed through a small gap between two vehicles driving in the opposite direction. You will also encounter all sorts of vehicles on the road, including motorbikes loaded with a full family and their chicken.
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Traffic Rules

LAS GALERAS

 

The first days were spent exploring the local surroundings. Las Galeras is a small fishing community located 28 Km away from Samana. This village is remote, far removed from everything and the world. The town’s ecclectic yet laid-back charm attracts mainly independent minded travellers who wish to avoid the hubbub of all-inclusive resorts.
 

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Galeras

 

SAMANA

 

Samana is the biggest town in the gritty workhorse of the peninsula. It is mainly famed for it’s whale-watching opportunities. Since 1985 the town springs to life between mid-january and mid-march whit the influx of tourist hoping to catch a glimpse of this majestic mammals. After visiting the market and drinking a coconut or two, my dad and I returned to the Hotel on the back of a motorcycle taxi. This is probably the cheapest form of public transportatio in the Dominican Republic.
 

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Samana

 On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Samana
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Samana
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Samana
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Samana

EL LIMON

 

One of our daytrips brought us to El Limon. It takes about 3 hours on horseback to the 52m high waterfall and a little longer by foot. The torrent of whitewater formes a natural pool at it’s base and we couldn’t resist a dip in the clear water. Our tour guides, two young lads, took the opportunity to show off and jumped from the cliff into the deep water below.
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - El Limon
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - El Limon

LOS HAITISES NATIONAL PARK

 

A must see of the northeast coast of the Dominican republic is the Los Haitises National Park, a protected virgin forest with little road access. Over time water erosion has created a multitude of little islands and cavernous rock formations covered in dense mangrove forest and rich in fauna and flora. The best way to access this justifiabley protected land is by speed boat.
 

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Los Haites National Park

ON HORSEBACK

The best way to travel across the Dominican Republic is on Horseback. It allows you to access remote beaches and alcoves in the mountains that might be to difficult to access by foot or car. Guided tours on Horseback are a very common in the Dominican Republic and it isn’t difficult to book at least one or two. The couple that led us through the mountains was extremely friendly and knowledgeable and I still have very fond memories of them. Unfortunately I cannot recall their surname. Neither can I findan exact match  on the internet. Perhaps not so surprising as this was 9 years ago and the lady was not at the peak of her youth even a decade ago. I did, however, find a very similar facility very close to, or even on their premises. If my guess were true, their operation is now called Rudys Ranch and run by locals, with the same ethical pricnciples of looking after / rescuing horses and restoring them to good health. On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Horse Riding On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Horse Riding On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Horse Riding

PLAYA MADAMA

One of the remote beaches we visited on our numerous horseback adventures was Playa Madama, a small beach on the Samana Peninsula., 3 miles from Arroyo del Cabo. Here I had the immense pleasure of eating Mangos and Almonds picked straight from the tree and drinking the freshest of Coconut Water. Our guide climbed all the way up into a Palm Tree to get some Coconuts for us. To this day I don’t know how he did it.

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Madama
 
 

QUAD BIKES IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Another great way to travel around the Dominican Republic is with a Quad Bike. Again opportunities to do so are numerous and you won’t find it difficult to find a tour of your liking. Just remember you should be at least 16 years old before you can drive one of these vehicles.   On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Quad Bikes On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Quad Bikes On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Quad Bikes On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Quad Bikes

PLAYA RINCON

I am not the type of girl who will happily lie in the sun the whole day to nurture my tan. In fact I tend to retreat into the shade after a maximum of 30 minutes.On the other hand lying in the water on a secluded beach, somewhat sheltered by a palm tree, is perfectably acceptable. Playa Rincon is one of the most beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic, if not the world. In fact I believe it won several awards. And yet it remains extremely secluded, far away from hotels and resorts. The white sand beach stretches 4Km and is dotted with Palm Trees. The road to the beach is a bit rough and I believe we hired a boat at Las Galeras that dropped us off in the morning and picked us back up later that afternoon. On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon

 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Playa Rincon

LAS TERRENAS

Our last day was spent on Las Terrenas, a csomopolitain town on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic. This town has a lively mix of styles and a flamboyant social scene. Las Terrenas is known for its scenic views and white sand beaches. There are quite a few shopping centers in the town and you will come across many fashionable women browsing the latest offers.  

On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
 
On Horseback through the Dominican Republic - Las Terrenas
I hope you enjoyed this little trip into the past. Please do let me know if you would like to read more post of a similar style. I hope all of you are enjoying your holidays or giddy with anticipation about an upcoming trip. See you all next week. xx
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11 Comments

  1. August 9, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    I can not imagine riding on the bike taxis- that is too scary for me!:)

  2. May 19, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    Wow! What wonderful photos. 🙂 The Dominican Republic is incredibly beautiful. My husband and I were there in late February (2016); we wanted to do horseback riding through the countryside but never got the chance as we didn’t stay very long.

    This is definitely a place that has a lot of secrets and beauty I don’t think many people know about. No wonder you have fond memories of it! Do you intend to go back eventually?

    Thanks for sharing, and safe travels!

  3. November 12, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Im loving all of your travel recaps. I am just getting into travel blogging and I feel like I have so much more of the world to see. Keep inspiring I am loving it!

  4. November 12, 2015 / 6:50 am

    Such a colourful post! You were to have a father like that 🙂

  5. November 11, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    Those are some incredible pictures. I would love to go on a vacation like this someday. It is cool that you got experience so much even as a little girl.

  6. blm03
    November 11, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    OMG – these photos are breathtaking. I hope to be able to go there one day too!

  7. Tatanisha Pitts-Worthey
    November 11, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    Great photos! I enjoyed looking each of your photos and made me miss travelling to a different country. The beaches are exceptionally beautiful, it’s beauty is very raw.

  8. Eileen Mendoza Loya
    November 11, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    If traveling was free, I would have gone to every country in the world! I would love to visit the Dominican Republic and relax on those beautiful beaches. Nothing relaxes me more than to be near the beach!

  9. chubskulit
    November 11, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    The beach and coconut reminds me of the Philippines, makes me feel homesick. These are great photos of your trip in DR. Enjoy your trip to Japan.

  10. November 10, 2015 / 11:29 pm

    It looks lovely. I like the mangroves and the water looks soooo inviting on the beach!

  11. Estefi
    November 10, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    It looks like you had such a great time in your trip. The Dominican Republic is definitely in my bucket list. My parents also inspired since I was little to travel.

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